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The Role of University Administration in Producing the Knowledge Society

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It is said that knowledge, besides capital, will become an increasingly significant production factor of the modern society

Knowledge exists in the material form as technology. Inventiveness and science have flown into it. It is controlled by means of titles of ownership over patents and usage rights. However, knowledge has also a major role in the utilization of living labor. The thesis of the knowledge-based society even claims that this role obtains an increasing significance: Many economic processes cannot be mastered any longer by the mere execution of well-defined tasks, but increasingly also through involvement and self-responsibility.

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For centuries, the processes of social differentiation associated with Modernity have often been thought to intensify the need for site-specific forms of role training and knowledge production, threatening the university's survival either through fragmentation or through failure to adapt. Other lines of argument emphasize the extent to which the Modern system creates and relies on an integrated knowledge system, but most of the literature stresses functional differentiation and putative threats to the university. And yet over this period the university has flourished. In our view, this seeming paradox is explained by the fact that modern society rests as much on universalistic cosmological bases as it does on differentiation

The university expands over recent centuries because- as it has from its religious origins- it casts cultural and human materials in universalistic terms. Our view helps explain empirical phenomena that confound standard accounts: the university's extraordinary expansion and global diffusion, its auricular and structural isomorphism, and its relatively unified structure. All of this holds increasingly true after World War II, as national state societies made up of citizens are increasingly embedded in a world society constituted of empowered individuals

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Over the past decades the role of universities has changed in most fundamental ways (Dunderstadt et al. 2005) due to the requirements of knowledge society where creation of knowledge, the foundation of innovation and development, plays a decisive role. It is widely acknowledged that within the framework of knowledge society, knowledge production and generation of innovation are seen as the primary contributors of economic and social development

In knowledge society research is conducted and knowledge created in complex global networks (Castells and Cardoso 2005) and knowledge alliances (Neubauer 2012) with the aim of enhancing knowledge production and making it more effective. This is putting pressures on universities that traditionally have assumed the role of main knowledge producers focusing on in-house knowledge creation.

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Generally speaking, reference must be made to the challenge of the internalization of higher education, which is a reflection of the world nature of knowledge, research and learning. All these challenges, giving rise to the “new cultures”, necessarily lead to transformations that affect the task of higher education (mission, organization, academic structures, teaching and learning methods, homework, etc.). Such changes should be ultimately embodied in a redesigning of curricula, which is a real yardstick for the degree of transformation undergone by any particular academic institution. When all is said and done, a university is its curriculum.

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Castells, M and Cardoso, G. (Eds.). (2005). The Network Society: From
Knowledge to Policy. Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins Center for Transatlantic Relations.

Keeling R., Underhile R., and Wall A. (2007). Horizontal and Vertical
Structures: The Dynamics of Organization in Higher Education. Liberal
Education, 93, 4.

Neubauer D. E. (ed.). (2012) The Emergent Knowledge Sociaty and the Future of Higher Education: Asian Pserspective Comparative Development and Policy in Asia Series. Routledge. New York, NY 10017.

Malan T. (2004). Implementing the Bologna Process in France. European Journal of Education, 39, 3, 289 – 297.

Merriam-Webster. (2013). Diccionary. On-line. (available in internet:, cited 16.8.2015).

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